WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 8, 2020 — U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced legislation to advance emerging data privacy technologies. Their goal is to enable the economic benefits of data analysis while protecting Americans’ personal data – using mathematical techniques that obscure or anonymize identifying information. The Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies Act would require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote research into privacy-enhancing technologies (PET) and direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop resources for the integration of PETs into public and private sector data use.
“Our country relies on large-scale data analysis in everything from agriculture to transportation to pandemic response. While these datasets are critically important, it must be collected in ways that protect Americans’ privacy. This bipartisan legislation will help keep Americans’ personal information secure,” said Senator Fischer.
The Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies Act would:
o Fundamental research on PET technologies.
o Fundamental research into the mathematics that underlie PETs.
o Fundamental research into technologies that promote data minimization principles.
Senator Fischer and Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) co-sponsored the DETOUR Act last year. It would protect consumers from manipulative online user interfaces known as “dark patterns.” She also joined several other Commerce Committee members to co-sponsor legislation providing Americans with more transparency over the collection and use of their personal data.
The Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies bill has been endorsed by Microsoft. Full text of the legislation is available at https://www.fischer.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/4df1ab49-fa44-4ea6-86db-16611e1a48d1/ccm-fischer-final-pet-text.pdf